The Hush Post: A Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), India, scientist was baffled after having captured on video an insight into wild elephants’ behaviour. The WCS scientist had captured this rare video, which shows latest insight about wild elephants’ behaviour, in the forests of Nagarhole.
In this video a wild elephant appears to be ingesting charcoal and blowing ashes in a burnt forest floor in the summers of April, 2016. This unusual behaviour has baffled experts and scientists worldwide as this is the first such photographic or video documentation of a pachyderm smoking, New Indian Express reported on Tuesday.
Assistant Director of WCS India Vinay Kumar, had shot this video and had captured a wild Asian elephant exhibiting incredibly unusual behaviour – seemingly ingesting charcoal and blowing out the ashes, the report said.
While Kumar and one of his colleagues Srikanth Rao along with their field staff were checking in on their installed camera-traps in the park as part of WCS India’s long-term monitoring of tiger and prey populations in Nagarhole National Park, it was reported.
Vinay Kumar reportedly said they had entered a partially burnt patch of the moist deciduous forests, when they suddenly came face to face with a female elephant standing calmly on the side of the road.
“This was not an unusual sighting, but what we saw her doing was something that I had never witnessed before, and it has probably not been commonly captured on film earlier either. As cameras clicked, I switched on to the video mode and filmed what would be an amazing sight to behold, a behaviour that has had experts trying to decipher the exact nature of the action. What we saw that day almost appeared as though the elephant was smoking – she would draw up a trunk full of ash close to her mouth and blow it out in a puff of smoke,” the WCS scientist was quoted as saying by the daily.
An elephant biologist and senior scientist with WCS India Programme, Dr Varun R Goswami, reportedly said that most probably, the elephant was trying to ingest wood charcoal, as she appeared to be picking up something from the burnt forest floor, blowing away the ash that came along with it in her trunk, and consuming the rest. “Charcoal has well-recognised toxin-binding properties, and although it may not have much nutritional content, wild animals may be attracted to it for its medicinal value,” Dr Goswami was quoted as saying.